NORTH RIDGEVILLE — After months of discussion, City Council on Wednesday night passed an ordinance banning the cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical marijuana within the city.
The debate on whether to allow medical marijuana businesses to operate within the city limits began in November, when Council passed a 180-day moratorium on the establishment of medical marijuana businesses within the municipality. The decision was made to take an “opportunity to review the state’s evolving regulation of the business activity, and to evaluate the city’s interests” of having such businesses permitted in the municipality.
The moratorium expired June 21, and rather than extend the moratorium another six months, Council elected to consider an ordinance banning the businesses outright.
The measure passed Wednesday night by a 5-2 vote, with Gregg Westover, R-1st Ward, and Roseanne Johnson, R-at large, voting against it.
“The citizens of the state passed the law,” Westover said. “North Ridgeville is in the state of Ohio, and there’s probably many citizens in Ridgeville that voted for it. It’s not for recreational use, it’s for medical use, and I feel we should comply with the state’s law and allow folks to have a choice.”
Previously, Johnson has stated she was against the ban because she feels such businesses could bring revenue to the city.
Members of Council who voted in favor of the ban have previously stated that because medical marijuana is considered illegal by the federal government was a major reason for their decision.
Westover said he hasn’t seen a lot of action where the federal government had tried to usurp state laws, though and said he still believes there’s a chance that Council will reverse the ban later.
“We can take this up again down the road and change the policy,” Westover said. “I think this law is going to take time to effectively get put in place. I think down the road, eventually, we’ll be able to do something with that.”